An Isolated Mind – A Place We Cannot Go Review and Album Premiere

It’s not that often that I get to debut an album. Okay, it’s never, ever happened before, but here we are, with a surprise review for a surprise release of An Isolated Mind’s second full-length, A Place We Cannot Go, sent to me via sole member Kameron Bogges. His debut full-length, I’m Losing Myself, was a stark, brutally honest portrait of his battles with mental illness, and A Place We Cannot Go chronicles the final days of a codependent relationship. If there’s anyone who can tackle sensitive issues with grace and tact, it’s Bogges, so to say I’m honored to review the album for AMG is putting it mildly. And said album is available on AIM’s Bandcamp page… today!

I’ll admit right now that after almost nine years of listening to hundreds of promos for review, there’s a ton of music that may have left an impression during that time, but honestly doesn’t stay with me once the review is submitted. Call it lack of staying power or my own need to move on to the next promo for review, but with a few notable exceptions, many albums that I’ve fallen for on first listen end up drifting to the wayside, destined to be forgotten. An Isolated Mind’s 2019 debut full-length, I’m Losing Myself, was certainly not one of those albums. An unflinching look at mental illness, I’m Losing Myself tackled a difficult subject with care and grace, and landed my top spot of 2019 in doing so. That said, it’s an album that I return to infrequently not due to quality, but because the subject matter hit that close to home for me, as I’ve been open with my own battles. Following an interview with sole member Kameron Bogges, I was confident that the likelihood of a new An Isolated Mind album was going to be a difficult, if not impossible, proposition for Bogges.

So imagine my surprise when Bogges dropped me an email that he had finished the follow-up, and I was one of the few people given a copy. What wasn’t surprising is that A Place We Cannot Go is not only a thematic departure from its predecessor,1 but also stylistically. Plainly put, calling A Place “metal” is a hard sell, leaning more towards modern-day progressive rock or even some indie flourishes than the abrasive, caustic nature of I’m Losing Myself.2 After a quiet introduction, “Cold Day” wafts in dreamily, with Bogges singing over gently-strummed guitars and washes of keyboards before chaos begins to build in both intensity and vocalization, with Bogges screaming and howling “I see a life where you don’t/And I don’t want to hold that over you.” Even then, it doesn’t once hit the level of abrasiveness that I’m Losing Myself attained.

In fact, the only time A Place We Cannot Go hits that level is the explosive second half of “Platitudes,” when disappointment in where things have been going turns into absolute rage and chaos. The rest of the time, A Place resides closer to territories akin to Kayo Dot or the much-missed The Pax Cecilia whereas An Isolated Mind had more in common with Devin Townsend or Zao on the previous outing. Thankfully, it all still fits beautifully in the overall picture that Bogges paints with his instrumentation, songwriting, and production skills. Once you get over the jarring musical change from I’m Losing Myself, you realize that it all still fits.

Still, there are some choices that I had issues with. The soft intro “Leaving” is so faint that making anything out required me to crank my headphones up to unreal levels just to make out what was going on, which I know is a bad idea on my part. For a while, I thought my headphones were on the verge of dying, just to find out that it’s just how the song goes as the second half started to open up a bit. Closer “Mourning” suffered a similar fate, but it builds up quickly over its eight-minute run. Also, I’ll admit that it took me a while (and several listens) to warm up to “Cold Day”‘s second half, especially with Bogges’ pained vocals during the howling/screaming section.

Just like I’m Losing Myself, A Place We Cannot Go is an unflinchingly honest, and sometimes raw, peek into someone’s life that’s equal parts intriguing and uncomfortable. It’s almost like watching something you shouldn’t be privy to experiencing, only because it’s such a private, difficult thing to experience for that person. It’s also a quality album that, once again, tackles a difficult subject with respect and the utmost of care, not to mention being a high-quality album in its own right.3 I wouldn’t expect anything less from Bogges at this point.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Unsigned/Independent
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: February 15th, 2022

Show 3 footnotes

  1. This time, chronicling the end of what was a codependent relationship.
  2. That said, though, if you listened to AIM’s self-titled, which is a collection of EPs predating the debut leaning towards post-rock, I’m Losing Myself then becomes the outlier of the three.
  3. And if you’re ever in a relationship, whether romantic or friendship, where manipulation and narcissism is going on, there’s no shame in getting help or in just walking away.
« »